One of the things that I miss the most when not traveling for a while is long train ride, so when I saw that the weather would be sunny on the weekend, I immediately decided to book train tickets to Stratford-upon-Avon – which is Shakespeare’s birthplace and grave, but apparently also a nice little town that I’d recommend anyone to go visit!
Fun fact: Avon is the river cutting Stratford. Many English towns have ‘upon’ on its name, and the word following it would be the river’s name!
Stratford-upon-Avon is two hours train ride from London, a bit pass Oxford. There are three Shakespeare sites you can go to that are in the town center: Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Nash’s House & New Place, Hall’s Croft – for which you can buy ticket pass for all three.
The Holy Trinity church where Shakespeare’s grave is located is also in the town center, and you can go in with the same ticket pass or by donation.
It is slightly odd to see the real grave of William Shakespeare. Like all legendary figures, their existence feels almost unreal.
The other two sites are a bit further away: Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Mary Arden’s Farm (so five Shakespeare sites altogether, plus the church). There’s a cycle trail for them, and you can rent a bike at Stratford Bike Hire. I planned to do the full round initially, but by the time we got to the hire place, it was 4:30pm and they close at 5. We decided to rent the bikes anyway (with reduced price at £5 per bike) and went to Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. I especially wanted to go there because it’s one of the popular ones and the pictures I saw always looked very nice.
I was not disappointed. The cottage was lovely, and the garden was even lovelier.
I saw a bunch of tourists in a van, taking pictures from outside the gate. Maybe because the pass ticket for the five sites cost more than the three sites pass. Though I can’t speak for the last site (Mary Arden’s Farm) because we didn’t go, I think it’s definitely worth going to Anne Hathaway’s cottage if you could make it. I even wish I had spent longer time there, and didn’t have to rush back to return the bikes.
We spent the rest of the time just walked around the town, along the river. It was incredibly nice day, a thing you’d appreciate if you live in Britain long enough. We had a marvelous time.